Lidia Bastianich has been described as the reigning queen of Italian cuisine in America. She is the host of cooking shows on PBS, including Lidia's Italy, a new 26-episode series which features American and Italian chefs preparing regional Italian dishes.
Bastianichs family fled Communist Istria in 1956 and became political refugees in Italy, before moving to the United States. Bastianich trained in kitchens in New York City and opened her first restaurant with her husband at the age of 24. Since then, she has opened several restaurants, including Felidia and Becco. She has also authored several cookbooks including Lidia's Family Table and Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen.
Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?
Lidia Bastianich: Yes. I think that I am very . . . I am philosophical. I am very spiritual. I am also philosophical because food is keep . . . keeps us alive. And therefore to be able to excel and produce something that, at the very basis, keeps people alive, it’s . . . it lets me think about many more things. You know what else does food do? Communicates socially. It communicates . . . So my philosophy on dining, ___________, families eating together, which is sort of hopefully coming back; and respect of food; and eating and not wasting food because there is so much hunger out there. There is a humanistic philosophy that cannot be . . . for me, cannot be detached from being a cook or a chef. Because I can use the gift that I have for spectacular and expensive meals. I can use the gift that I have to nurture somebody if they’re ill. I can use the gift that I have to spread so that I can nourish where there is less to eat. So I feel blessed, but also with a responsibility in what I do.